Morse has been a breath of fresh air for a team in need of just that, recording a hit in every single game thus far, leading both the M’s and the majors with five home runs (Atlanta’s Justin Upton currently has five home runs, as well), and bringing an infectious personality to a ballclub that has very much lacked infectious personalities over the past few years.
Morse’s hot start to the season has produced a number of intriguing statistics — anomalous and otherwise — that deserve to be highlighted. Math nerds get your abacuses (abaci?) ready.
1. With five home runs in seven games, Morse is currently on pace to send 116 baseballs over the outfield wall this season. The all-time record for homers in a single season is 73, set by Barry Bonds in 2001.
2. With 10 strikeouts over that same span of games, Morse is on pace to go down on strikes 231 times in 2013. The single-season strikeout record is 223, set by Mark Reynolds in 2009.
3. Morse has a total of nine hits in 2013, putting him on track for a 208-hit season. His career high for hits in a season is 158, set in 2011 while with the Washington Nationals.
4. Those nine hits have been spread out over all seven games the Mariners have played this year. In addition to working on a seven-game hitting streak in 2013, Morse recorded hits in his final four regular-season games of 2012, giving him an active 11-game hitting streak.
5. With eight RBI on the year, Morse is on pace to drive in 185 runs, which would be the most ever by a Mariners player and good for second place on the all-time single-season list (the long-standing record is 191, held by Hack Wilson).
6. With 19 of his 31 plate appearances resulting in hits or strikeouts, Morse hasn’t had much time to draw walks. With just one base on balls this season, Morse is on pace for a mere 23 free passes in 2013.
7. With a current OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 1.182, Morse could become the first full-time Mariners player to record an OPS over 1.000 since Alex Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez both did it in 2000 (Rodriguez posted a 1.026 OPS, while Edgar finished at 1.002). Interestingly enough, Morse was one of the most recent part-time players to post a 1.000-plus OPS for the Mariners when he notched a 1.056 line over just 18 at-bats in 2007.
8. Morse has scored five runs in 2013. Every single run Mike Morse has scored is the result of a Mike Morse RBI.
Sure, few if any of these trends will likely continue over the course of the season. But it’s fun to pretend, right? Here’s to Mike Morse continuing a very promising beginning to 2013.
Filed under: Mariners
Tags: mike morse
The other night I was sitting on my ass watching TV when a Gorton’s fish stick ad aired. I imagine Gorton’s would rather we all refer to them by their official title — Gorton’s Seafood — but let’s face it, what they’re known for is fish sticks. Frozen, rectangular conglomerations of mysterious fish parts. That’s all Gorton’s really is.
At the end of the commercial, a woman with a pleasant voice sang the Gorton’s slogan — “Trust the Gorton’s fisherman…” — and a thought crossed my mind. I’ve heard this jingle my entire life and never once have I actually put any faith in the Gorton’s fisherman. Does anyone trust the Gorton’s fisherman? Because I don’t.
First of all, I don’t even know this guy. I don’t trust my mailman, so why would I trust this bearded seafarer hawking fish goulash? If anything, I’m more apt to fear this man. He peddles a questionable food item, makes his living through murder, and wears a yellow raincoat all day. He also hasn’t shaved in years and never once have I heard him speak. What about all this would make me trust the Gorton’s fisherman?!
Anyway, this is neither here nor there. They say in writing that you should always grab hold of your audience with an anecdote to kick things off. Well, there’s my anecdote. I hope you enjoyed it.
What we’re really here to talk about is Michael Morse and the Seattle Mariners. And let me start by saying right now that I’m gonna have to scrap this “Michael” junk. He’s Mike Morse. That’s how I was introduced to him, that’s how he’ll remain. You know how much time we’ll waste over the course of our lives adding that second syllable, that “-ael,” to his first name? Probably about as much time as I just wasted explaining all the time we could waste, but whatever. Mike Morse. He’s Mike.
Mike Morse, what a guy. Four home runs in four baseball games. That puts him on pace for 162 trips around the basepaths this year. Some people would have you believe that 162 homers in a season is impossible. It’s not impossible. Implausible, yes. But impossible? No. For all we know, nothing’s impossible. I wager a transvestite riding a unicorn through a wormhole connecting 1955 to today would be damn near impossible. But it’s not entirely impossible. It could happen. We don’t know. We just don’t know. And I, for one, like to live in the realm of the implausible. Because it’s fun. And because my imagination knows no bounds. And because some people have told me that my mental growth has been stunted to the point of existing around a sixth-grade level. So, you know, I just go with it.
Fact is, if a guy is guaranteed 500 plate appearances in a season, it’s possible that he could hit 500 home runs. Again, wholly unlikely. But still possible. So let’s just play make-believe for a minute.
I like to think that Mike Morse is some sort of archangel sent down from the heavens to save Seattle Mariners baseball. I’m not religious or anything. I just want to believe that because, again, it’s fun to believe in crazy stuff like that. If in fact Morse is some kind of baseball deity, then 162 dingers should be no problem for the guy, right? Not at this pace. Not with 158 games left in the season. Games in which he’ll average four plate appearances per contest, ensuring him right around 632 chances to hit those longballs.
Okay, this is ridiculous, I know. If Morse hits just 26 – twenty-six – more home runs this season, we’ll call his individual campaign a success. My goodness, if he were to do us ten better and belt thirty-six more home runs this season, well, we’d be damn near ecstatic. And anything more than that? Anything more than nine times his current home run total from here on out? With 40 times the number of games already played left to go? We’d wet our pants. Most of us would, at least.
I brought this completely absurd mathematical discussion to Facebook and a pseudo-argument ensued. Mostly, it was just hilarity. One individual argued that, because of a spotty health history, Morse would be unable to wallop 162 round-trippers this season. As if that would be the only thing holding him back. Seriously. It was awesome. Here’s what it looked like:
Big thanks to Terri for being a good sport about the entire conversation, despite basically everyone attempting to bait her into making ridiculous proclamations about the M’s outfielder. But this serves to show us something. Terri’s baseball knowledge seems to be rather limited. Based on what she does know, however, in tandem with the plausible mathematical outcomes tied to Morse’s current home run pace, she’s willing to wager that Mike will indeed record a 40-to-50-homer season. That would be damn exciting! Who wouldn’t be satisfied with 40-to-50 Mike Morse home runs this year?
Experts will tell you that Morse might end up with around 35 bombs if all goes well. Eh. Thirty-five, huh? That’s all well and good. But I like the idea of 40. I like the idea of 50. I like the idea of 70, 80…heck, I like the idea of 162.
So what the hell. I’m counting every one of Mike Morse’s jacks this season. I want to see the implausible, whatever that implausible number may be.
Mike, we love you, you’re great, and here’s hoping you keep sending baseballs over the outfield wall. The quest for 162 is on. Be amazing. Be a hero. Test the impossible.
Filed under: Mariners
The 2013 baseball season is underway and you don’t know how you should feel about our beloved Seattle Mariners. Fear not, M’s fans. I’m not hear to tell you how you should feel (that’s no one’s place), but I can give you 11 reasons why you might be able to shed some cynicism and believe in this year’s team.
Without further delay…
11. Chone Figgins is gone.
Lest you think three years of vitriol directed towards the Mariners’ sometimes-third baseman was unwarranted, consider this:
In 2012, the team had a record of 75-87 (.451). Chone Figgins appeared in 67 games, during which time the Mariners plodded along at a 26-41 rate (.388). In the remaining 95 games, sans Figgins, the team played at an above-.500 clip, amassing a 49-46 total (.516). Damn near unbelievable.
The trend doesn’t end there, either. Over Figgins’ three-year tenure with the club, the M’s put together a less-than-impressive 203-283 win-loss sum (.418). With their diminutive Donkey from Shrek lookalike in the lineup, the team was just 123-186 (.398). Without him? Try five-plus percentage points higher, .451, at 80-97. So yeah, he actually did make a difference. In the worst way possible.
On top of all that, Figgy just wasn’t very likable, and at the end of the day, paying the guy $8.5 million to go away was worth it simply from a public relations standpoint. The public hated Figgins and now he’s gone. That’s good P.R. if I’ve ever seen it.
10. They get to play Houston 19 times this year.
Nineteen times!!! That’s like 19 games against a semi-pro squad!
I’m telling you right now, the American League Western Division champion will be the team that has the most victories over the Astros. This may as well be a presidential election, and Houston may as well be our Ohio. Swing state, all the way.
9. Felix Hernandez will make at least 30 starts.
That’s like 30 wins right there. A third of our triumphs are basically already counted for.
8. Every A.L. West team has its fair share of warts.
The Mariners may have some question marks at the back end of their rotation, as well as the ever-looming threat of a power outage in the lineup, but they certainly aren’t alone in showcasing a few blemishes on their pate.
Down in Los Angeles (better known to geography aficianados as “Anaheim”), the Angels are dealing with a revamped starting pitching staff that lost an ace (Zack Greinke) and a mainstay (Ervin Santana). Though Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson were obtained to fill the respective voids, one could easily infer that the overall quality of the rotation, one through five, has decreased.
In Oakland, the Athletics are comprised of the usual mish-mash of journeymen, up-and-comers, and no-names. If everything plays to perfection, the team will make a strong push around August, per usual. But as always, the A’s will be in wait-and-see mode until that time. A few key losses along the way and this team has just as good a chance to be out of the playoff picture as they do to be in it come late-summer.
The Rangers were most stricken by defections over the offseason, losing the heart of their order (Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli) and the soul of their team (Michael Young) to other ballclubs. Pitching is always a concern in Texas, and this year is no different. Relying heavily on a de facto ace in Matt Harrison and a soon-to-be-ace in Yu Darvish, the Rangers will need to keep all their arms healthy in order to stay at the top of the standings. An increased workload for Darvish, however, could very well land him on the disabled list by mid-year.
And then there’s Houston…yeah.
Point is, this division is by no means closed. The A’s were AL West champs a year ago, and they’re certainly no favorite to repeat. The Angels are considered the leaders in the clubhouse to finish first, but the same could have been said a year ago and they floundered. The Rangers have been to the World Series twice in the past three years, but they’re a completely different squad this season. The Astros are a punching bag who will serve as a season-long spoiler. And the Mariners are lying in the weeds, on the rise and with the ability to seize a golden opportunity if they so desire. It’s anyone’s race.
7. They have a real-life middle-of-the-order now.
The Mariners’ 2013 Opening Day lineup featured a 5-6-7-8 combo of Justin Smoak, Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero, and Dustin Ackley, in that order. This same quartet was counted on last season to fill out the heart of the team’s lineup, often batting in some arrangement of 2-3-4-5. The difference? The arrivals of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales.
Morse and Morales may not be first-tier major league stars, but they are imposing figures in a lineup that has lacked exactly that for many years now. Each is capable of blasting 30-plus home runs, while neither should sacrifice much in the way of average as they supply that power — Morse is a career .295 batter, while Morales has hit at a .280 pace over his big league tenure.
The presence of the M’s M&M duo has taken a hefty dose of pressure off the likes of the aforementioned youngsters, Smoak, Seager, Montero, and Ackley. Rather than being asked to carry the lineup, these four can now simply focus on contributing. And as a bonus, the team as a whole should see an uptick in offensive production.
6. The bullpen is ridiculous.
Three guys who consistently flirt with triple digits on the radar gun.
A guy who would start for many teams in the league.
A hard-throwing lefty with a (figurative) chip on his shoulder.
A left-handed specialist who can pitch two innings, if needed.
A six-foot-eight-inch ex-starter who can throw in long relief, middle relief, or simply induce a ground ball if needed.
Stephen Pryor, Carter Capps, and Tom Wilhelmsen.
You might not know all the names yet. But you will.
5. They instituted $5 draft beer at Safeco Field.
Look. We all know this team won’t win every game. Heck, they might not win enough games to make the postseason. It’s a real possibility, and frankly, considered a likelihood at this point. So what do we do when they lose? Drink. And if you happen to be at a game and the team is losing (or, you know, winning — the outcome is kind of irrelevant), you can drink for cheaper than you drank last year.
I noticed a glaring absence at Safeco Field in 2012: cheap beer. Of course, when it comes to big league ballparks, the term “cheap beer” is entirely relative. But two years ago, the team offered more affordable options like Miller High Life and Busch Light for around $6 per pint (as opposed to around $8.75 per pint for your standard American domestic draft).
I made the omission known to my buddy Kevin Martinez, who also doubles as the team’s Vice President of Marketing. Kevin took that information, then went and did us all a solid.
Thanks to Kevin and his team, instead of $6 cheap beers on tap, we now have $5 cheap beers on tap. And that deal exists every day at the ballpark. There’s no special arrangement for this sort of thing. It’s every single day.
The $5 beers are sold at two locations in the stadium: at a new bar behind home plate, right next to the semi-hidden Mariners Hall of Fame; and at a stand right outside the entrance to the Hit It Here Cafe.
They’re not bar prices, they’re not happy hour prices, but for a professional sporting event, this is about as good as it gets. I can’t justify a $9 Bud Light. But I can damn well sip on a $5 High Life and not feel bad about it. In this instance at least, we can thank the organization for doing right by the fans.
4. Ichiro is gone.
We all love Ichiro. He’s a baseball icon, a Mariners legend, and a future Hall of Famer. To label him otherwise would be entirely unjust.
For all his greatness, however, Ichiro served as a symbol of the franchise’s decade-long struggles with ineptitude. Though he bridged the gap from the team’s success of the 116-win 2001 season, Ichiro was not so much a leader as he was an individual talent that existed amidst a backdrop of failure.
As time went by and the Mariners continued their losing ways, Ichiro’s presence became less of a boon and more of a burden on a roster desperate for dramatic turnover. A veritable statue both in right field and atop the batting order, the aging outfielder blocked younger players from reaching the majors (consider that over his playing career, the M’s traded away the likes of Adam Jones and Shin-Soo Choo), and arguably stunted the development of others (Casper Wells and Michael Saunders, to name two).
With Ichiro’s departure last summer, the M’s have finally absolved themselves of the man who had come to personify the organization’s lack of commitment to winning. Entering our first full year without such a stalwart along for the ride will allow the team to finally emerge from the long shadow Ichiro cast upon this entire ballclub.
3. They have players who actually want to be here.
Raul Ibanez is back, and that says a lot. Yeah, the cynics will say that this is just another futile attempt at rekindling the flame with one of Seattle’s favorite sons, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, in the past the Mariners have been known to flirt with nostalgia, but the differences between Ibanez and, say, a Ken Griffey Jr. are two-fold. One, Ibanez is still a productive major leaguer, even at the ripe old age of 40. And two, Ibanez elected to play here not out of sentimentality, but because he knows he can make a difference with a team that, believe it or not, has playoff potential.
Mike Morse is back, and that says a lot, too. Shortly after being acquired from the Nationals over the offseason, Morse took to all forms of media (print, radio, social) and announced his unbridled enthusiasm for a return to the Pacific Northwest. It was a little surprising, seeing as how his career never really took off until after the lanky outfielder shed his Mariners uniform, but the giddiness and excitement seemed genuine and resonated with fans at the same time.
These are just two individuals, of course, but if you think back over the past decade, there aren’t too many guys you can name who were this eager to play for the M’s.
“Buying in” is a mantra preached across the street, more synonymous with our football team than the club inhabiting Safeco Field. Short of Pete Carroll positioning himself atop the steps of the first base dugout, however, Morse and Ibanez have single-handedly perpetuated a culture of “team” that has been sorely lacking on this squad for years. Instead of individuals with personal agendas floating through our ballpark before embarking elsewhere, it seems that these two acquisitions (re-acquisitions) alone have changed the mentality of the on-field product for the better.
2. They’re undefeated.
As of print time, the Mariners are 2-0 and by definition among the best teams in Major League Baseball. Though some curmudgeonly pundits will have you believe otherwise, that record and those two initial triumphs are not entirely inconsequential. Every win, any win, is a great thing.
1. They’re likable.
Yeah, I get it. As long as Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong head up this organization, there will always be at least two reasons to loathe the Seattle Mariners. Forget those guys. They happen to be a pair of flies on our glorious buffet spread. They’ll get theirs eventually, and their legacies will always outlive their own regimes. Beyond the dictatorship of two bumbling fools, there’s a lot of good permeating throughout this team.
When it comes to the on-field product, let’s face it, it’s tough to despise the Mariners. There’s no Figgins and no Ichiro. There are no Milton Bradleys, no Jack Custs, no Johjimas or Sexsons or Lopezes or any other albatrosses destined to drag this team through the mud for a season.
This team is young, it’s rejuvenated, it has the potential to be entertaining, to be successful, to be a joy to watch play. It’s filled with promise (Ackley, Seager, Montero, Saunders, Brandon Maurer, to name five) and production (Morse, Morales, Felix, to name three).
There are smiles in the clubhouse, there are players who seem to enjoy one another’s company, and there’s a sense of quiet confidence that can be felt by fans.
There aren’t jerks wearing SEATTLE across their chests. There aren’t any unwarranted, bloated contracts raising eyebrows and lowering hopes. There aren’t slap-hitting pansies trying to pick fights with their manager. There aren’t malcontents pouting on the bench. There aren’t egotists pulling up half-assed on fly balls, unwilling to sell out for their teammates.
For the first time in a long time, this team feels like it’s headed in the right direction. Whether that leads us to the promised land in 2013 remains to be seen. Without a doubt, though, it’s something we can all believe in. That belief alone should be reason for optimism.
Filed under: Mariners
In between Sunday afternoons spent watching Nickelodeon Guts and Family Double Dare and all the other kid shows that permeated every kid’s existence in the kid-friendly, kid-centric Nineties, I was a baseball fan. My summers were punctuated by bruises and scuffed knees and mosquito bites that only seemed to multiply each time I scratched them. I had a glove with Ken Griffey Jr.’s name burned into the pocket, a wardrobe full of blue and yellow Mariners apparel, snapback caps with an “S” on the crown, and this belief, however foolish, that I would one day grow up to be them.
Throughout the duration of every season, I would type up, print out, and maintain a list of each player on the Mariners’ active roster. Jersey number, name, and position. If Dann Howitt got called up from Triple-A, then by god you’d find me in front of a Macintosh Classic typing Howitt’s information into Microsoft Works. And if I went to a game to discover that Howitt’s jersey number had inexplicably been switched from 23 to 44, upon arriving home that edit would be made, saved, printed, and kept. I could give you the details on every single player, from No. 1 (Greg Briley and Brian Turang) all the way to No. 96 (Mak Suzuki).
Fashion conscious as I was, my mother let me dress myself from an early age. So unlike many of my elementary school peers, adorned in expensive button-ups from Nordstrom and pants that didn’t have an elastic waistband, I was as comfortable and content as any child could possibly be — in third grade, for example, I wore shorts for an entire school year, just because. Mostly, though, I attired myself in t-shirts with cartoon images of Junior on the front, “life-size” jersey replicas of Randy Johnson, and colorful advertisements for the American League Western Division. I wore those shirts down to their last threads. I sweat and fought and bled and cried in those shirts. I had unforgettable experiences in those shirts. I lived an entire adolescence with sweatshirts tied around my waist, securing those shirts through recess after recess as we tossed Nerf Vortex Screamers, held footraces, shot baskets, kicked red rubber spheres, and chased our imaginations across wood chips and dirt fields.
I sat on metal benches — some with red backs, some with orange — and devoured nachos, peanuts, hot dogs, Milk Duds, and any other stadium fare one could conceivably dream up. I blew bubbles of Green Apple Bubblicious gum, then stuffed the popped remains into my lower lip to look like the ballplayers with their chewing tobacco, the ones whose bad habits I couldn’t help but emulate. I stood in the Kingdome concourse and marveled at the souvenir stands, staring down brand new caps, jerseys, jackets, pennants, trading card sets, pins, replica helmets, mini bats, photo balls, blow up bones, everything. Who didn’t want a gold No. 24 necklace? So what if it was $10? It was $10 well spent.
There was no cynicism in those days. We were bad, but we were a dignified sort of bad. We had never won, so there was no expectation to win. Our guys, they just played baseball. And when they won, we were happy. And when they lost, we moved on. We watched players come and go, the ones who wanted to be here staying until those star-crossed seasons when we actually began to win. They led us proudly into a world of expectation. When they left, when we lost again, our innocence was replaced by that cynicism, by a bit of newfound impatience that couldn’t be satiated until we won again. We won again. And even those players left. We lost again. We haven’t won since.
Every spring we find ourselves in this position. The days get longer, the sun shines brighter, and we start believing that maybe, just maybe, this will be the year. So what if we were downright mediocre last season? So what if our competition improved? Do you see that sunshine? Do you feel that warmth? It’s almost summertime! If the clouds can dissipate and the rain can cease and the sun can shine here, now…well, anything must be possible. We are easily swayed, us Mariner fans. Or maybe we’re just blessed with bigger hearts, bigger imaginations, and smaller whatever-it-is that makes you think clearly even in the face of sheer obviousness.
There’s a chance. We get to play the Astros 19 times this year. Nineteen! And the Astros might not even win a game. Really, they’re that bad.
We have a middle-of-the-order now: Kendrys Morales, Mike Morse, Jesus Montero. We have hitters that actually scare pitchers — or if not scare them, perhaps make their blood pressure rise just a tad.
We have an ace, a King, and he’s not going anywhere for a long time. Players want to play with him, for him. They certainly don’t want to go against him. He’s our fulcrum. Everyone knows it, and everyone respects it.
We have pitchers who can pitch, hitters who can hit, fielders who can field, we got real jerseys and everything! Okay, so maybe that’s oversimplifying things a bit. But we’re not bad. We’re at least okay. And okay sometimes has a way of spiraling its way into good, which can sometimes spiral its way into great. And from there, who knows.
Mostly, though, we have players who won’t make a mockery of our memories. We have guys who want to wear a Mariners uniform. Guys like Felix Hernandez, who cried tears of joy when he inked a contract that will keep him here for the better part of the next decade. Guys like the aforementioned Morse, who was ecstatic upon learning he had been traded to the first organization that ever let him play in the big leagues. Guys like Raul Ibanez, who signed on to finish his career in Seattle just because he likes it here. Every time we’ve ever won, we’ve had players who truly wanted to be in Seattle. Players that made you like them, if for no other reason than the fact that they seemed to understand, in some way or another, that you as a child had worn the same logo they now wore, had scraped your knees in that logo the way they scraped theirs, had sweat in that logo just as they now sweat.
We don’t ask for much in Seattle. We’re an enigma to sports fans outside our corner of the map. We don’t demand winners so much as we beg for them. We don’t expect success so much as we bask in its aura. At the end of the day, all we really ask for is new memories to be made and old memories to be enhanced. Winning, as it turns out, has a way of fulfilling both those requests.
The Seattle Mariners are dealing with a generation of fans who grew up wearing the colors and the emblem of a team that sucked, but sucked in a beautifully organic, pure, simple way. Our innocence mirrored the innocence of an entire organization. We grew up together, and as we’ve grown up, our experiences have shaped the way we approach the future in tandem with one another. We can be cynical at times, we can be unsatisfied quite frequently, we can be down on our prospects, upset with our situation.
But every spring, right about this time of year, all of that is replaced by unbridled optimism. We see the good in one another — us in them, them in us — and we believe that this might just possibly be the year. Maybe. Maybe this is the year.
Filed under: Mariners
What the hell is going on? People are fighting like there’s reason to fight or something. Everyone has an opinion on the Mariners’ trade of catcher John Jaso for outfielder/first baseman Mike Morse. Some people think it’s a great deal, some people think it’s a horrible deal, but regardless, everyone seems to be either agonizing or rejoicing.
First of all, this is stupid. The Mariners were Godawful last year and neither of the players we’re debating — neither Morse nor Jaso — are world-beaters. We’re talking about JOHN JASO and MIKE MORSE! This is not Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, people! We should not be having aneurysms over two slightly-above-average major leaguers. It’s foolish in every sense of the word. No matter how many advanced statistics you can ejaculate onto the world wide web, I’m not convinced that either of these players is or was going to be the fulcrum for the Mariners’ 2013 season. We weren’t going to go from a cellar dweller to a playoff contender simply because we inserted Jaso into the lineup, nor are we going to win the division just because Morse is here now. No, there’s a greater reality here and why we can’t just discuss it for what it is is mind-boggling.
Here’s the reality: John Jaso was a player with a limited role on a shitty team. Shitty. The Mariners were shitty last year. That’s exactly what they were and you know it. No amount of statistics will overwhelm wins and losses when it comes to a baseball team. They didn’t win enough and they lost too damn much. That’s all you need to know.
Mike Morse, on the other hand, was a player with a full-time role on a good team. A playoff team, no less. That’s just a fact. You cannot dispute it.
So which player would you rather have? Frankly, I’d rather have the outsider who got shit done with a winning team. Maybe he’s got something that doesn’t show up in the statistics that helped his team win, we don’t know. All I know is the guy’s a winner, he put up damn decent numbers, he had an expanded role in his team’s lineup, and our team, the team he’s coming to, could use him every single day.
On the flip side, our use of Jaso was limited. Yeah, maybe he had better individual sabermetric stats than Morse. But you know what? John Jaso wasn’t going to play every day for the Seattle Mariners. Not this year, not next year, and maybe not ever. He was a part-time player on a bad team. That’s just who he was. And I know it hurts so many of you to hear that, but it’s true. Great guy, that John Jaso. Heroic on many occasions. Had a wonderful, thriving beard. But the M’s didn’t deploy him every day. And they weren’t going to. Not with Jesus Montero on the roster. Not with Mike Zunino flourishing in the minors. Jaso’s future with the Mariners was iffy, at best. And so as a result, he was expendable.
For all we know, the Oakland A’s might play John Jaso every day and he might turn into the next Carlton Fisk. But the fact remains that he probably wouldn’t have become the next Fisk here. Because the Mariners wouldn’t have given him that opportunity like another team might be able to. If Jaso morphs into a Hall of Famer, then be pissed at the M’s roster circumstances because of that. But just know that had the guy stuck around in Seattle, there’s a good chance he never would have become the player he has the potential of becoming now.
Mike Morse will play just about every day so long as he’s healthy. Maybe he reverts to the average player he was before the M’s sent him to D.C. a few years back. Maybe he becomes the next Jay Buhner. Or maybe he just continues the production he put up in the second half of last season — he batted .310 with 18 home runs and 55 RBI over his final 83 games, as Ryan Divish points out in his blog. If nothing else, we know that Morse will play. And for Jaso, that same guarantee could not be granted.
John Jaso was one of the hotter chicks at your high school. Mike Morse is one of the hotter chicks at your college. Jaso was a big fish in a small pond with the Mariners. Morse was a big fish in a bigger pond with the Nationals. How will that translate in 2013? We don’t really know for sure yet.
But I do know this. I bag on the Mariners all the time. I might make more fun of them than anybody in Seattle. But even I’m optimistic enough to see that this trade could help us in certain ways, no matter how in-depth stats may go to convince us otherwise. This team is bad enough from April to October. We don’t need to be miserable now. We don’t need to be miserable before the season even gets underway. Save your misery for later. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth a being a miserable individual over the loss of John Jaso and the addition of Mike Morse. That’s stupid. This team needs much more than a Mike Morse or a John Jaso to be better than shitty. Don’t kid yourself.
This deal, and this team we’re talking about, isn’t worth fighting over. Let’s win some games first before we get all hot and bothered. Let’s make a postseason before we scratch each other’s eyes out. We’re like two dudes coming to blows over a pair of snaggle-toothed girls at a bar. Let’s up our standards first, then throw down. Cool?
Filed under: Mariners
There has been a lot of talk surrounding the Mariners at the Winter Meetings. In fact, I’d say we are one of, if not the most talked about team in Nashville. The team is being linked to almost every hitter there is, and that’s not really surprising.
This is, talk is cheap. Now, I am confident Jack Z is doing everything within his power to add a bat. I can picture him running around Nashville like a crazy person, phone in hand, knocking on peoples doors, some that have nothing to do with the MLB. Unfortunately, activity does not always guarantee success. We all know how hard it is to lure hitters here, and that Jack and company will have to overpay to get someone here.
But at least we know he is trying, and that’s all we can ask for.
I am pretty neutral on this deal. I am all for reclamation projects, but I am not a fan of the guaranteed, major league contract that he was given. I am not sure that he has a chance to be much better than Casper Wells, who is the current 4th outfielder.
If other moves, hopefully for a real hitter, are made, then I have no problem with this move. But if he is the big signing for the offseason, I won’t be too happy.
Anyway, back to the rumors.
I am a fan of a move for Morse, but I don’t feel that he is the instant fix either. He has played mostly left field for Washington, but is not very good at there, and fits better as a 1st baseman who you can throw in a corner outfield spot if you need to.
There’s no doubt in my mind that he can hit however, as seen in his .303/.360/.550, .390 wOBA, 148 wRC+ line in 2011. That was his only full season, as he battled injuries last year, and didn’t get a ton of playing time in 2010. But even in those seasons he put up .340 wOBA/113 wRC+ and .377 wOBA/134 wRC+ in those seasons respectively.
I think he makes more sense coming in with a Swisher, Hamilton or Upton (who I will talk about later on), but by himself wouldn’t be too bad either. Washington is said to be seeking bullpen help, so if he could be had for one of Carter Capps or Stephen Pryor and a prospect not named James, Danny, Nick or Taijuan, I think Jack should jump all over it.
Hamilton is a guy who has grown on me. That may sound strange considering I am talking about a superstar, but I was really worried about him. And in many ways I still am. I am not a fan of him on more than a 5 year deal, and for no more than $25 million a year.
But I am now hoping the Mariners offer him just that. It is obvious now that you are going to have to overpay no matter what. So you might as well overpay for a star. Id rather give an MVP 5/125 than someone like the recently signed Shane Victorino 3/$39 million.
I also think that if you are going to go for it, then you should get another guy like Morse in addition to Hamilton. As great as he is, I think this team may be a little more than one bat away from competing, especially if the Rangers trade for Upton.
It makes a lot of sense to me. Swisher is an above average hitter, and can play both right field and 1st, which are our biggest holes on the team. He is a guy that is going to give you a .265/.365/.475 line year in and year out. Now, he is turning 32 this year, and would most likely command a 4-5 year deal, so its probably necessary to assume a small decline from that as time passes.
But his ability to draw walks and get on base is the best part of his game, and that’s very encouraging for aging guys. Plate discipline is something that tends to stick around, unlike speed and things of that nature. Even if he isn’t the best contact guy, he should continue to get on base, and provide at least 20-25 home run power for the next few years.
That, combined with the fact that he plays slightly above average defense at the team’s two weakest positions make him my favorite option. Like Hamilton, it is always best to get another bat through trade to come along with him, but he would be okay by himself.
If he can come here a 4/62, I think he makes the most sense out of anyone.
He does not make much sense to me at all. He is essentially Franklin Gutierrez mixed with 2010 Chone Figgins, and that’s not an exaggeration. He is one of the best defensive center fielders in the league (Guti) and gets most of his offensive production from his speed and decent on base ability.
If you compare Bourn’s 2012 to Figgins’s 2009, or the year before he signed here, it is scarily similar. But what’s even scarier is that Figgins was better. In 2012 Bourn hit .273/.348/.391 compared to .298/.395/.393 for Figgins. Figgins also bested him in WAR at 6.9 vs 6.4.
There is no guarantee that Bourn follows the same path, but I would argue that it is likely. Players that rely heavily, or solely in Bourn’s case, on speed, they tend to decline. I don’t think that is what Seattle needs. They need bats, and Bourn really doesn’t fit that mold, especially at $15 million a year like he will get.
If he were to come in with Upton or Butler, then I can see it. But even then, I don’t think he would be too much of an upgrade over what we have. It would be a poor use of money, and I think we would see Figgins 2.0.
Finally, there are still some Justin Upton rumors, but they have cooled down, at least involving the Mariners. It looks like the Diamondbacks and Indians are looking for an Upton-Asdrubal Cabrera trade, but need another team, or three.
So far it’s sounding like the Royals, Rangers and Rays are those other three teams and there are reports that deals have already been put into place. It is looking very unlikely that Upton will come to Seattle.
However, there have been reports that Seattle is interested in shortstop Dee Gordon. The only, and I mean ONLY, logical explanation for that is that Jack is trying to put together a package for Upton, knowing that Arizona wants a shortstop.
The problem with that is that Dee Gordon is awful. He is a below average hitter now, and most likely will never be better than average. That, combined with his below average defense make for a very invaluable player. Without his speed, he would not be in the bigs.
The Mariners have no use for him with a better version of him in Brenden Ryan, and Nick Franklin is not too far away.
Its a confusing and frustrating time. It is particularly frustrating to me because a lot of the rumors we are hearing are not very good moves as is. A move for Gordon is a waste. Bourn is not valuable to a team looking for power. We just have to stick it out and hope for the best.
One of the players the Mariners will face today when they resume Interleague play in Washington D.C. will be an old favorite of mine Mike Morse. Morse who was drafted in 2000 by the White Sox came over to the Mariners on June 27th 2004 along with Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed in exchange for Ben Davis and Freddy Garcia in a deal that never quite worked out for us. Morse always seemed to be on the verge of winning a spot with us and had some great Spring Trainings but was hampered by injuries at the wrong times and was finally traded to the National on June 28th 2009 for another journeyman by the name of Ryan Langerhans.
But at long last the 29 year old Morse is finally playing up to his full potential and is currently hitting .309 with 13 homers and 43 RBI’s. Morse who can play just about anywhere came up as a shortstop and is now settling in as the every day first baseman. Morse who believe it or not hasn’t had an error in the field since 2005 when he was playing shortstop with Seattle, has found a home with a Nationals team that may not draw a lot of fans in their new stadium but is only two games under .500 in the tough NL East.
I for one was disappointed when we traded Morse for Langerhans and recall there was little or no negative press about the trade at the time perhaps due to his suspension for steroid use that he admitted to back in 03, or the honeymoon period that Jack Z. was enjoying then. As it turns out Langerhans is down in AAA and the lanky Morse is getting his chance to shine after hanging in there all these years. Baseball is a funny game where 24 year-olds are called youngsters and 33 year old guys are considered washed-up these days leaving a small window for success. I am happy that Morse is getting his chance to shine, but I hope he has gotten over the raw deal he got here in Seattle better than me and doesn’t extract his revenge on us this week with his bat! Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
So this popped up on the twitter radar today.
And then again one hour later…
Of course this will bring back the memories of Morse during his time with the Mariners. It will also bring out a few of the Mike Morse supporters that were disappointed in the trade and didn’t feel we got very much in return in the form of Ryan Langerhans.
Langerhans, a sabermetric darling, has been a defensive whiz in his almost 100 games during his time with the Mariners, the past two years. Now, I’m not sure he makes the team this year. He’s got stiff competition in Guert, Gross and even Mike Wilson. But one thing is certain, he is a capable defender at any position in the outfield.
Now, Morse has thus far has shown the obvious ability to hit major league pitching and is a plus hitter. Being with the Nationals he’s got an opportunity to fight Rick Ankiel and/or Roger Bernadina for the left field starting job (with Josh Wilhemsen being traded to the Oakland A’s). He may even do some platooning with first basemen Adam LaRoche.
The biggest problem with Morse, and it’s the same problem he had here in Seattle, is he lacks positional value. Right now he’s about on par with LaRoche as far as projected productivity. But, I think I’m right there with a few others that wonder about if he really has enough power to be an average first basemen in the long term. And at 28 going on 29 his overall physical tool progression is going to be slim if there is any at all.
It’s always natural to look back and see how the trade turned out for all the parties involved. Right now isn’t a bad time to review the 2009 trade that sent Morse to the Nationals. Though I’ll admit that it might be a more interesting look when we know where the two will be playing in 2011.
But here we are.
While it could possibly be construed as a win for the Nationals, Langerhan’s played a whole 100 plate appearances less than Morse. If you were break down Langerhans PA-to-WAR ratio (0.0051 vs. 0.0051) , he’s right on par with Morse, so really it comes to how you want to put together your team in regards to preference and park factors.
The Mariners have put together a team that places a premium on defense. Something that Morse has never really been very good at outside of first base and playing that position is an obvious misfit on this team being a right-handed bat.
I honestly think that in the end this was a solid move for both teams. I still like the Mariner’s move and yet I think that the Nationals got value out of a trade that most of us thought was a pure win for our team.